JPMorgan trader singled out for abnormal finger agility

At 55, Gregg Smith, one of the former JPMorgan traders currently being sued for manipulating the precious metals market, is probably slowing down. At the time, however, Smith had some of the fastest fingers in the West.

Dexterity with your numbers isn’t normally a prerequisite for a trading job, but for Smith – who was a top trader at Bear Stearns before joining JPMorgan in 2008, finger speed seems to have been an important trait. . Smith’s fingers moved so fast that Bloomberg reports his colleagues joked about having to chill them with ice.

Quick fingers aren’t usually a sign of a good trader, but for Smith they were a godsend as they allowed him to place buy and sell orders very quickly in an attempt to beat the bots. “We were convinced it was a battle,” Smith’s former colleague Christian Trunz told the court. “It was the first time that machines interacted with humans on a trading platform. It was man versus machine. Placing orders required a “quick succession of clicks on a mouse,” and that’s what Smith was so, so good at. – Colleagues have chosen him to place the orders because of this particular talent.

Unfortunately, having supernaturally fast fingers got Smith in trouble. Along with others, including Michael Nowak, a former head of precious metals trading at JPMorgan, he is accused of carrying out fraudulent trades with the aim of misleading the market. – The quick clicks were allegedly used to place large buy and sell orders which were later canceled in an attempt to manipulate prices.

While Smith and his former colleagues deny the charges, there are fewer attempts to deny that the “excessive clicking” actually happened. Their defense apparently rests on the fact that Smith et al were willing to continue the trades and that the orders were all legitimate and could have been executed by anyone in the market (if their fingers had been that quick).

Separately, another crypto exchange is making cuts. Coindesk reported yesterday that Blockchain.com, one of the oldest crypto exchanges is reduce its institutional lending activity, suspend efforts to grow the game, slow its NFT activity, and cut executive salaries. In the process, he cut 25% of the staff.

While that sounds bad, it also requires some context. After cutting its workforce by 25%, Blockchain.com will simply return to the size it was in January 2022, according to Coindesk. This is not the end of the world.

Meanwhile…

Brian Moynihan says Bank of America won’t cut hiring. “We don’t intend to make any major adjustments because frankly we have these plans to adjust our workforce at any time. It’s a constant planning process in our business – how we use that human capital in an even more effective and efficient.” (Bloomberg)

It’s a good time to work in socially responsible credit. ERG bonds make up 9.44% of the trillion dollars of corporate bonds issued in U.S. dollars this year, versus 8.8% of the $2.5 trillion issued in all of 2021. (Bloomberg)

Citi and Raiffeisen Bank International have been barred from leaving Russia and are not trying to hire more staff there. (Reuters)

Tech store GP Bullhound is hiring 50 people in Malaga. (Financial News)

HSBC now has a Committee of the Chinese Communist Party in its investment banking branch in China. The committee is both a union of workers and the mode of installation of a representative of the party in the high spheres of a company, sometimes with a post of administrator or direction. (FinancialTimes)

Kuwait Sovereign Wealth Fund fired Saleh al-Ateeqi, the head of its London bureau, with immediate effect and without the usual three-month notice period. This follows a turbulent period characterized by staff turnover and legal battles (for example, the head of fixed income sued the fund for whistleblowing). Saleh al-Ateeqi, who friends said he had done nothing wrong, enjoyed diplomatic immunity. (FinancialTimes)

Another tech company is slowing hiring. – Snap says he will “substantially reduce” recruitment. (FinancialTimes)

Three Arrows Capital’s liquidators have uncovered only $40 million in assets to date. They understand bank accounts, cryptocurrencies, non-fungible tokens and stakes in digital asset companies. (Bloomberg)

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